Friday, May 19, 2017

MULTI-PLATINUM SELLING BILLBOARD NO. 1 CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN POWERHOUSE HILLSONG UNITED ANNOUNCES SURPRISE ALBUM, WONDER

The Two-Time Billboard Award and American Music Award Winners
Surprise Fans with Sixth Full Length Studio Album Available June 9


LOS ANGELES (May 19, 2017)— Today, the multi-platinum-selling Christian music powerhouse and chart leading Hillsong UNITED announced their sixth full-length studio album titled Wonder,set to be unveiled in all music stores on June 9th. Undisputedly one of the genre’s most influential artists in the history of contemporary Christian music (over 2 million albums sold and 700 million career streams to date, remaining the #1 Christian artist on all social media platforms reaching over 9 million fans combined), the band that rocketed to no. 5 on Billboard’s Top 200 with their last record “Empires,” hopes to re-awaken the innate sense of Wonder within the human being.

“Have we lost the Wonder?” asked Joel Houston, front man for the modest Australia-born band that has since become an international phenomenon.

Explaining intrinsically what it means further, Houston continues, “The hope, the imagination to dream, to believe, the tenderness to listen and lead first with mercy, the grace to empathize, the courage to trust, the fearlessness to love without pretense or condition. To see beyond the facts without dismissing them. To respond beyond the fear without reciprocating it. To sing beyond the noise, without adding to it. This is the challenge, and this is what worship— if worship can be summed up as an expression of art and music and story— is ultimately designed to do. To elevate the conversation, re-awaken the soul to something other, and lift our eyes to the wonder of a superlative truth."    

With the announcement comes two instant grats on iTunes and Spotify for songs “Wonder” and “Splinters and Stones.”

Track Listing for “Wonder”
1.               Wonder
2.               Shadow Step
3.               Future Marches In
4.               So Will I (100 Billion X)
5.               Splinters and Stones
6.               Glimmer in the Dust
7.               Greatest of These
8.               Shape of Your Heart
9.               Not Today
10.             Life
11.             Rain / Reign
12.             Water to Wine

Hillsong UNITED’s sixth full-length studio album “Wonder” is available for pre-order today and out on June 9th everywhere music is sold. 

About Hillsong UNITED: 
Hillsong UNITED is a multi-award-winning, platinum-selling artist whose chart successes (repeatedly no. 1 on Billboard’s Christian charts and up to #5 on Billboard 200) are only bested by the millions of lives they’ve impacted across the globe. Reporting over 50 million people singing from a catalogue of UNITED songs every Sunday, the modest band born from a youth ministry out of Hillsong Church in Australia, touts a reach of over 9 million across all major social network platforms to date. Comprised of an evolving, eclectic mix of musicians and songwriters, the band is led by Joel Houston and Taya Smith, names that have become synonymous with Christian radio, dominating airwaves with every new release. Their last four studio albums have each topped the USA Christian chart, with “Zion” and “Empires” charting no. 1 (Zion recently also went Gold in the US); and “Oceans,” written by Houston and band member Matt Crocker recently went double platinum in the States, counting 200+ million streams and reigning on top of the Christian songs chart for a record 54 weeks. In studio, on tour or at home, Hillsong UNITED is committed to writing songs that speak truth, create a unique sound and connects people everywhere with God, evident by the success they’ve seen globally. With over 42 countries and six continents and counting, Hillsong UNITED continues to sell out arenas and stadiums around the world, including sold-out nights at the Forum, STAPLES Center and The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, the Bridgestone Arena, American Airlines Arena, and the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC to scratch the surface. Hillsong UNITED profoundly functions from the deep understanding that everything they do is an expression of a really extraordinary God doing what only He can do, through really ordinary people. The sixth full-length studio album “Wonder” will be available June 9th everywhere music is sold. For more on Hillsong UNITED visit www.hillsong.com/UNITED/ or @hillsongunited on all social platforms.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Fear Fighting by Kelly Balarie - REVEIWED


About the Book:
We all live with fear. It hangs around, whispering in our ears, reminding us of all we can't do or will never be. But that's not the end of the story. We also have a God who draws close to say, Fear not. I am with you. This Spirit transforms us into fear fighters--women breaking free of trepidation to find bold dedication to God's peace-, purpose-, and joy-filled callings.

With remarkable compassion born from personal experience, Kelly Balarie shows women how to

· Cultivate unstoppable faith by harnessing God's Word and promptings
· Usher in lasting peace through prayers that reduce panic, blood pressure, and stress
· Discover clear and immediate action plans to exchange worry for God's greatest gifts
· Implement daily bravery decrees to stand armed throughout the day
· Participate in a twelve-week study guide to foster new courageous habits


Kelly pulls back the curtain of fear so you can find the beautiful woman God created you to be.

My Thoughts:
“It is by dwelling with the Spirit that we go about abiding in the Lord.” (p.108)

Once again, God has set a book in front of me at a providential cross roads in my life.  Fear Fighting is a book meant to equip believers with truth and testimony of God’s faithfulness when we keep our eyes fixed on Him instead of our circumstances.  Fear is one of the enemy’s deadliest weapons.  If it doesn’t derail our lives entirely, it keeps us so distracted that we fail to follow God’s plan laid out for our lives.

Kelly Balarie has had to face some terribly fearsome foes throughout her lifetime, and she uses what God has taught her through those experiences to give an encouraging lift to others along the journey.  She devotes an individual chapter to some (six) of the most common places that we allow fear to creep into our hearts.  Balarie gives us examples from her own journey and those of others who give a face to each area of fear, and they she uses God’s truth to strip away each fearful nuance and leaves us with the truth of God’s Word and His presence in many of life’s very difficult circumstance.

We must always remember that earth is NOT our home, but rather the enemy’s battlefield.  We must walk onto that battlefield armed and protected by God’s truth and keep our eyes fixed on Him.  Balarie has included a study guide for each chapter in the book, so this book becomes a useful tool to equip us as believers and gives us something we can share with others who are fighting alongside us.


This is a book rich with resource and I can’t wait to see how God uses it to help His children to overcome their fears and walk confidently into His perfect plan.

About the Author:
Kelly Balarie has lived her subject matter. Her faith was built as she battled through an eating disorder, depression, serious health concerns, company failures, family tragedies, job losses, and times without income. Throughout it all, Kelly has looked past the pain to pursue God's always-unfolding plan. Kelly is a featured blogger at Crosswalk.com and iBelieve.com. Her work has been featured on Relevant, (in)courage.me, and Today's Christian Woman. She lives with her husband and two toddlers near the sun-soaked shores of the East Coast.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Invitation by Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt and Alton Gansky - REVIEWED


About the Book:
Four Strangers with Gifts They Don't Understand. 
A World Falling into Darkness. 
This is 
Harbingers.

You're invited on a journey of suspense and the supernatural as four of your favorite bestselling authors team up for a unique series. 

From the minds of Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt, and Alton Gansky, Invitation compiles the first four episodes of Harbingers, each following a different character. 

BRENDA--the street-hustling tattoo artist who sees images of the future
THE PROFESSOR--the atheist ex-priest ruled by logic
ANDI--the professor's brilliant but geeky assistant who sees inexplicable patterns
TANK--the naïve, big-hearted jock with a surprising connection to a healing power

Brought together for the first time in "The Call," the four soon realize pockets of darkness are emerging throughout the world. Whether it involves a mysterious house, the unexplainable death of animals around the world, or an otherworldly little girl, each puzzle they solve brings them closer to the ultimate explanation of what's happening. But will they discover the truth in time?

My Thoughts:
This is a masterpiece!  One story layered upon another, masterfully told by the best storytellers in the world!  This is a supernatural thriller like none I've ever read!   Imagine spiritual warfare raging about both believers and non-believers.  The characters in the story span all of this and more, and their reactions to the stories unfolding around them are realistic and believable.  Each character has a very unlikely connection to each other, and they become able to use their particular talents and strengths to help each other survive some very unbelievable situations!

There is really no way to describe this very special collection.  If you enjoy lots of action, unexpected plot twists and quirky, well developed characters, this is a series you can sink your teeth into! I'm sorry I'm late posting this, but a family emergency is keeping me a tad disjointed right now.  This is a good book to escape with when you need a mental break!

The Authors:
Bill Myers is a youth worker, creative writer, and film director who co-created the "McGee and Me!" book and video series; his work has received over forty national and international awards. His many books include Hot Topics, Tough Questions, and The Dark Side of the Supernatural.

Frank E. Peretti is one of American Christianity's best-known authors. His novels, including This Present Darkness, have sold more than 10 million copies. He makes his home in Idaho. Learn more at www.frankperetti.com.

The author of more than 100 published books and with nearly 5 million copies of her books sold worldwide, Angela Hunt is the New York Times bestselling author of The Note, The Nativity Story, and Esther: Royal Beauty. Romantic Times Book Club presented Angela with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. In 2008, Angela completed her PhD in Biblical Studies in Theology. She and her husband live in Florida with their mastiffs. She can be found online at www.angelahuntbooks.com.

Alton Gansky is the author of twenty-four novels and eight nonfiction books. He is a Carol Award winner and an Angel Award winner, and has been a Christy Award finalist. He holds a BA and an MA in biblical studies and has been awarded a Doctor of Literature degree. Director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, Gansky also serves as an editor and collaborative writer for top tier authors. He lives in California.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Local Poet by Paul Trimbling - REVIEWED


About the Book:
A horrific road accident is just the start of a journey into the dark past of the local poet. Rob doesn't know Laney Grey. But when she deliberately steps out in front of his van and dies on impact, his life will never be the same. The police declare him innocent, but how will he deal with the guilt?


Now Rob is driven to know who she was, why she chose to die, and why he had to be part of her death. To understand her, he must read her poetry. To know her, he must unravel the mysteries of her past. As Laney's dark secret starts to come to light, and Rob's innocence is questioned, he must learn the full truth. But truth comes at a cost. Will Rob be the one who has to pay the price?

My Thoughts:
Laney’s passing had begun a process that couldn’t be stopped, and I was caught in the middle of it.” (p. 83)

A truer statement has never been made!  When this revelations pops into Rob Seaton’s mind, he really has NO IDEA what he has stumbled into! Paul Trembling tells a very complex story in a very brief amount of time (only 150 pages), but it is a story that will haunt your memory!  I think this story resonated with me, because I’ve seen the destruction of addiction first hand.  Trembling covers all angles of this insidious evil – the greed and power games that drive people to manufacture and distribute poison – and creates characters that have to sort it all out in the middle of the battlefield.


It has been quite some time since I’ve felt as bad for a fictional character as I came to feel for Rob Seaton!  He really went above and beyond when he chose to take the time to get to know the life of the local poet who met her demise on his watch.  I imagine he never imagined what evil his seeking would uncover!  This is a very complex story, with very believable characters, and I am happy to recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good mystery!  Paul Trembling is a new author to me, but his is a name I will look for on future novels!  Enjoy the tale!


About the Author:
Paul Trembling got into the habit of making up stories before he could read or write. Since then, he's followed a diverse career path, being at various times a seaman, a missionary, a janitor, and a crime scene investigator but he's never broken the story-making habit and has no plans to try.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Alabaster by Chris Aslan - REVEIWED


About the Book:
Maryam is stuck in an abusive marriage, living with her in-laws in a conservative, toxically religious village. A few years back, her father was given a jar of priceless perfume by a dying leper and it seemed as if their fortunes would improve, but then Maryam's father contracted leprosy and was exiled from the village. Maryam and her siblings, Eleazar and Marta, experience the shame and ostracism this brings. The precious jar that was meant to bring them freedom has only brought destruction. But rumors abound concerning a new doctor; perhaps hope is on the horizon...


Alabaster brings a first-century Middle Eastern village and its culture to life for modern-day readers.

My Thoughts:
Everything smells of him.”  (p. 200)

I can’t remember reading a more powerful account of a biblical story than Chris Aslan’s Alabaster! This short novel brings the account of the early Christ followers into vivid context among the ancient culture of the Middle East.  Marta and Miriam (Mary and Martha) are the central characters, but they must live among the restraints of the culture, and often that equated to brutal mistreatment.  Aslan brings the sight, sounds and smells of this ancient culture to life in a way that impacts your heart profoundly!

There were times I wept with Miriam and Marta.  When the Teacher enters their world and the transformation of their hearts begin to take place, you will understand why the fragrance of the Teacher begins to permeate the pages of this story!  This is a novel to be experienced.  Savored.  Let it cause you to seek the fragrance of the Teacher in the pages of His Word!


I hope this is the first of many biblical novels from Chris Aslan’s pen!


About the Author:
Chris Aslan was born in Turkey and grew up in Beirut and wrote A Carpet Ride to Khiva: Seven Years on the Silk Road--part memoir, part travelogue about life in Uzbekistan. He is currently lecturing on textiles, tour-guiding around Central Asia, and studying in Oxford for Anglican ordination.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Pursued by Lisa Harris- REVIEWED


About the Book:
Nikki Boyd's flight into Nashville was routine--until the crash landing at the airport. 
When the dust settles, Nikki discovers that the woman who had been seated next to her on the plane is missing--and no one will admit she was ever there. When she learns that Erika Hamilton had been flying to Nashville with an air marshal as a key witness in an upcoming grand jury trial, Nikki wonders if her disappearance from the crash site means she's running from trouble--or straight into it. Before Nikki can even see her family, she and her team are pulled into a missing persons case where the motives are as unclear as the suspects. 

Bestselling and award-winning author Lisa Harris has planted danger around every turn in this can't-put-it-down thrill ride that will leave you stunned.

My Thoughts:
That’s the thing about God. I’ve decided he doesn’t mind us asking questions.  He already knows the answers.” (p. 289)

Whew!!  This book made me tired!!  By the time Tyler told Nikki how he knew God had the answers he sought, I was worn out!  Lisa Harris has a knack for telling intense stories, but I believe that Pursued is the most intense story line ever!  At one point, if I’m totally honest, I think she pushed the envelope a bit too much.  I’m sure Nikki is a strong gal, but the rapid succession that she had to go through back to back trauma with little or no sleep….well, she just couldn’t be sane after that.  And her superiors just let her keep going  - knowing how dangerously close to the edge she was walking.  I sort of lost respect for her leadership team.  

Anyway, despite my own personal misgivings about the believability of Nikki’s almost super human endurance level, this is a gripping story with very believable bad guys!  The loss that is experienced in this story also adds to its believability.  There are evil people in this world, and when they have the means to support their evil ideas the chaos quickly ensues!  This novel has a lot of chaotic moments! 


Bottom line, if you like a thrill ride of a novel, look no further!  This will satisfy your need for adrenaline!


About the Author:
Lisa Harris is a bestselling author, a Christy Award winner, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 from Romantic Times. She has sold over thirty novels and novella collections. Along with her husband, she and her three children have spent over ten years living as missionaries in Africa where she homeschools, leads a women's group, and runs a nonprofit organization that works alongside their church-planting ministry. The ECHO Project works in southern Africa promoting Education, Compassion, Health, and Opportunity and is a way for her to "speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves . . . the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice" (Proverbs 31:8).


When she's not working, she loves hanging out with her family, cooking different ethnic dishes, photography, and heading into the African bush on safari. For more information about her books and life in Africa, visit her website at www.lisaharriswrites.com or her blog at http://myblogintheheartofafrica.blogspot.com. For more information about The ECHO Project, please visit www.theECHOproject.org.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Unsinkable Faith by Tracie Miles - REVIEWED

About the Book:
For many people, remaining optimistic and feeling positive about themselves and their lives is a constant battle - especially when circumstances are difficult and life is hard.
For others, negativity is something that only sneaks up from time to time, yet still wreaks havoc in their hearts. Regardless of the root causes, once pessimistic thoughts permeate our minds, our feelings and emotions begin to control us instead of us controlling them. Eventually it doesn't seem possible to stay positive, happy, and full of joy, and negative thought patterns shake our faith, causing us to sink emotionally, mentally, and spiritually over time. But it doesn't have to be that way. Despite what storms roll in, hearts anchored in God don't sink. When we change the way we think, we can change the way we feel and live, even if our circumstances remain the same. Intentionally embracing the opportunity to experience a transformed heart and a renewed mind opens the door for a changed life, because a positive mind will always lead to a more positive life.
In 
Unsinkable Faith, author and Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker Tracie Miles offers hope for women who struggle with negativity. Each chapter explores Tracie's and other women's personal stories, showing how they rose above their circumstances by transforming and renewing their minds. 
Unsinkable Faith is a breath of fresh air for anyone longing for a heart full of joy, an unbreakable smile, and a new, more optimistic perspective on life. This book will equip you to:
-Replace pessimism with positive thinking by becoming the captain of your thoughts;
-Learn how true joy and happiness are based on choice, not circumstances;
-Overcome unhealthy habits of negative thinking by intentionally implementing three easy mind-renewing steps;
-Stop feeling hopeless and pitiful, and start feeling hope-filled and powerful instead; and
-Discover that when you change the way you think, you change the way feel, and in turn you can change your life completely.

My Thoughts:
Our thoughts have power, but it is always up to us what thoughts we give power to.” (p.107)

Tracie Miles has grasped a profound truth in her book, Unsinkable Faith.  That truth has set her free from her past, the lies she has believed when she has looked only at her circumstances, and the lies the enemy has whispered into her heart and mind that burden her with guilt and shame.  What is this truth? The powerful truth of God’s word! 

Tracie Miles shares stories from her own life experience as well as those of others that have intersected her life, and tells readers some of the many ways we can become trapped in our own thought life and rendered ineffective in God’s kingdom.  When we begin to identify our negative thought patterns and replace them with the truth of God’s Word, our minds become transformed and are able to rise above life’s many and sometimes difficult circumstances and become positive, encouraging testimonies of God’s love and power in our lives.

Each chapter illustrates practical things we can do to begin this process of renewing our minds.  At the end of each chapter, the author gives the reader things to reflect upon, memory verses that can be used to replace the negative thoughts, and then a personal challenge to go deeper and apply the truths you’ve learned from God’s Word to your own circumstances.  This is a process that, over time, will help anyone overcome their negative thought life!

PS…This is one in a series of books God has brought into my life that has a very similar and powerful  message about the importance of renewing my mind with God’s word.  As a very wise person told me once, when I shared the many ways God kept sending me the same message, “I think God is shouting at you!”  I am listening Lord!!  Thank you Tracie Miles for being faithful to share God’s truth!

About the Author:
Tracie Miles is a national speaker with Proverbs 31 Ministries and a bestselling author who's spent the last twelve years inspiring women to become who God called them to be. She's the author of "Your Life Still Counts" and "Stressed-Less Living," and a contributor to Proverbs 31 Ministries daily devotions.